Thoughts on a dreary Friday night

First, let me say that I'm not in the Abyss, at least no more than usual.  I was in the USS Nimitz (my aircraft carrier-sized truck) driving to work, when "Oh, Girl" came on the radio.  It isn't really a horribly depressing song if you listen closely to the lyrics, but it made me think of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted."  Now THAT will make you cry.  So, to amuse myself, I went on to compile a mental list of really depressing breakup songs.

"Rainy Night in Georgia," Brook Benton.  Okay, they might not be broken up necessarily, but she's in one place, and he's freezing his papelbons off in a boxcar somewhere missing her.  Ouch.

"One More Night," by Dave Edmunds.  No, this isn't the Phil Collins song by the same name–although that one isn't awful by Phil's standards–but Dave Edmunds puts down his guitar and sings the bo-shit out of this one.  Any song that starts off "I'm too tired to stand up, and too drunk to sleep; don't know how I'm gonna get home," well, he can't be too happy.

"He Stopped Loving Her Today," George Jones.  George Jones can sing songs like this better than anyone else, because it seems to take so much out of him just to get the syllables out.  Between his dain-bramage from all the years of hard honky-tonk drinking and car wrecks, his dentures slipping, and the grim reaper standing backstage grinning at him, it's a miracle the man can sing at all.  But what a damn song.

"Can't You See," Marshall Tucker Band.  Maybe it's because this one was big when I was going through my first breakup with my first girlfriend, but this song says it all: "I'm gonna find me a hole in the wall.  Gonna crawl inside and die." That girl done him wrong, baby.

I would say "Layla," but Clapton ruined it when he did the cabaret-like Unplugged version.  The good thing about that was it enabled a mother-killer in a California psych hospital to win a Grammy for best song.  Derek & the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon co-wrote "Layla" back in 1970, so he got the Grammy when the dreadful remake won years later.  Sadly, the kind folks at Atascadero State Hospital wouldn't let him attend the ceremony.  (The irony is that he beat and stabbed his mother to death, and yet he was the one who wrote that beautiful piano part at the end)

My list is horribly incomplete–I have a fairly short commute, plus I had to stop thinking and yell at people–so feel free to comment and tell me your favorite horribly depressing breakup song.  I'll compile them, and maybe release a most-depressing breakup songs of all time post.  Maybe for a nice cheery occasion, like New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day.

One that really does it for me, though, is by jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.  In the 50's, this guy was a heartthrob.  All the bobby-soxers swooned when he sang "My Funny Valentine," and photographers loved taking his pictures.  By the 60's, heroin was his main love.  In 1966, he got his teeth knocked out after a drug deal went bad in San Francisco.  It took him a few years to clean up, plus his embouchure was shot.  He had to relearn how to play with dentures.  He had a comeback in the 1970's, playing zillions of sessions and concerts, especially in Europe (Chet was to Holland what Jerry Lewis is to France).  He recorded this song in 1977, and it's heartrending.  His once beautiful voice is just ravaged, even though his horn sounds better than ever.  Hide the sharp objects, and give it a listen, if you like.  It's "Oh, You Crazy Moon." Happy weekend.

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3 Responses to “Thoughts on a dreary Friday night”

  1. Hi– tthis'll just be a "comment-by" – until I can get back here later– wow your list– good stuff. One that isn't a real breakup song exactly, but it came at a breakup point for me — the situations make the feelings stronger, hunh? – is a Richard Marx one- (I think) not sure of the title "Waiting for You" – "Oceans apart, day after day"…that one…man. Cry every time.I didn't know about Chet Baker . The video is still "being processed"– see you later….(I'm still half-asleep – please ignore the goofiness here)

  2. "Right Here Waiting." You're right, that was Mr Marx. That came out around the same time as Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You." The station where I worked played them both, and my girlfriend at the time loved them. I should've known something was doomed in our relationship. The video is taking forever to "process," so I just put the MP3 up there.

  3. that's good. I have a playlist called I love you/I hate you full of these sorts of songs from the entire musical spectrum. I spent all of this year getting over someone. Tragic, heart-broken, etc. Good post. But all in all, it reminds me of a quote I just heard the other day: Don't cry because it's over, smile because it was. Or something like that. Like everything in my life, I only remember half of it.

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